Sachie Saigusa-Sensei and her Sumie Society of Hawaii students marked the conclusion of their 16th annual exhibition of Japanese brush paintings at Honolulu Hale with an awards luncheon on April 27 at the Ala Moana Hotel.

During the program, which was organized by the Makua Alii chapter, Saigusa-Sensei presented an Intermediate certificate of achievement to student Suzanne Ota. The Hawai‘i-born Ota said she had never taken an art class in her life and started learning sumie with Saigusa-Sensei after moving back to Hawai‘i from Los Angeles.

“I love painting,” said Ota. “Sensei is always patient with me. I learned something with each painting we did. We have all been so fortunate to have Sensei teach us.”

Saigusa-Sensei has been teaching sumie painting for over 30 years. She holds classes at Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, Makua Alii, Moiliili Community Center and in Wahiawä. Additionally, she teaches students at Hilo Hongwanji long distance. Her students say that besides teaching them sumie painting, they also learn Japanese language and cultural traditions that tie them to Japan.

Sumie Society members began displaying their works at Honolulu Hale in 2002, during the administration of Mayor Jeremy Harris. The three succeeding mayors — Mufi Hannemann, Peter Carlisle and Kirk Caldwell — continued to welcome the group to display the members’ paintings at Honolulu Hale.


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